|Meme from here. Um, I'm sparkly?|
~ “Cat and Mouse in Partnership,” Grimm Fairy Tales
Of the many characteristics that have gone into my personality over the years, one thing I’ve always prided myself on was being open-minded with people. I always try not to judge others based on their appearance, and I think I do a pretty good job of sticking to it 98% of the time. However, every once in a while, I meet someone that I just *know* I won’t like. When this happens, usually I feel guilty at first, because I realize that I am being judgmental by forming an opinion about the overall person when I truly know nothing about them. Yet sometimes I wonder if the natural aversion I feel towards some is a remnant of a past-life encounter with him or her, or perhaps just a warning to stay far, far away and not get involved. More often than not, I chock it up to there being some sort of similarity to say, an old arch nemesis.
Yes, I have had an arch nemesis. According to one of my cousins, having an arch nemesis is quite the accomplishment, but quite frankly despite the impression the whole situation left on my development, I would rather it all went down rather differently.
It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that in high school, I had the unfortunate luck of suddenly pissing off the reigning queen of love and beauty when I gained the first chair flute position in band (previously hers). To make matters worse, I also suddenly became pretty. My skin cleared up, I finally developed a sense of fashion that worked for my body type, and I figured out how to style my hair. Curls, you see, take some practice, especially when everyone else in your family has straight hair and keeps trying to make you brush your hair once it’s dry (never, ever do this, EVER). Anywho, the reigning queen determined that she hated me, and therefore everyone else did, too. Her goal for that entire unfortunate year was to put me back in my place, which she and her minions attempted to do. Repeatedly. I have thus sat at a lunch table alone because no one would risk her wrath by joining me, and I have had not only students but faculty turned against me as well since her mother happened to be a teacher. Life was hell. Luckily I developed a few stalwart friends that saw through to the truth and stuck by me. By the time we all graduated, no one cared anymore and she had fallen a lot further down on the food chain, and I ended up a little higher than when I started…but I stayed happiest when I stayed with my nerd herd, with whom I still keep in touch.
Thus, when I see people who remind me of my former arch nemesis, I can’t help but have a boiling dislike build up within me. I try not to, because I know that it’s unfair to them and maybe they really aren’t the evil, conniving, self-centered venus flytraps they appear to be. Maybe they cake on the makeup because they’re insecure and think having an orange face really does make them look better. Maybe they bleach their hair to such an unnatural shade because they like having split ends. I never really find out, because I tend to just associate people—ok, women—who wear a lot of makeup and tend to go out of their way to attract male attention with my former arch nemesis. Whether or not I see them in action, it’s in their body language; they think they are better than me, better than everyone.
And yet, I know that’s also very hypocritical of me to judge them, because upon occasion I have been known to rock glitter eyeliner and sparkly lip-gloss, not to mention purple mascara. For me it’s a fun act of putting color where before there was none, of self-expression, of painting the canvas of creativity that is my face. But on a day-to-day basis, I don’t wear makeup. I never wear makeup at work, because I feel that when I am in uniform I am there to *work* not to impress anybody with the length of my fluttering eyelashes. The only time I’ll wear makeup in uniform is if I’m at a formal event and wearing my dress blues, and then it’s tasteful, natural looking makeup (no glitter eyeliner, le sigh).
The reason I bring this up, is that in the barracks arrangement upon this lovely detail that brought me out to the middle of the California desert, there is such a woman who reminds me of the arch villain of my formative years, and try as I might, I just can’t help but hate her. I don’t even know her, but I know that I dislike her. I feel guilty for it, and on some level when she’s around I also feel like I’m in high school again, that I’m the same scared little girl who just wants to be left alone. So I tend to withdraw. I’ve read 24 books in almost as many days, and I’m sure I’ll read several more before we leave. When I wasn’t reading, I was writing. I’ve written two songs, finished the first book in the Circle series, mapped out the chapter summaries and dialogue sketches for the second book, and talked on the phone to my Orion and my parents almost every night for at least an hour each. And in all this time, almost a month of sleeping in the same room with eleven other women, I still have not spoken a single word to the one who reminds me of my arch nemesis. In my defense, she never made an effort to speak to me either, but I wonder if she picked up on my intense, uncontrollable dislike, which just leads to further feelings of guilt on my part.
On the other hand, sometimes I also wonder if there’s another reason I sometimes dislike people. Surely not all of the sudden aversions I feel upon meeting certain individuals can be due to their over-use of makeup. Maybe there really is something off about some of the people I meet, and my subconscious sees it before my conscious does, and so it is only the interest of self-preservation that makes me want to stay far, far away from them. However, this recent encounter has left me pondering ways to get over, well, my issues with cake-face makeup tendencies and reigning queen attitudes. Maybe it’s not always their problem. Maybe, just maybe, it’s mine.
Or maybe they really are evil.
I guess there’s only one way to find out, and that unfortunately isn’t by withdrawing into my shell or avoiding them altogether.
Ugh. Socialites. *shudder*